Judge Dismisses Misdemeanor Charge Against Kyle Rittenhouse

Judge Schroeder surprised prosecutors when he said that Rittenhouse could not be charged for carrying his AR-15

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A Kenosha County judge dismissed a misdemeanor charge against Kyle Rittenhouse, a decision that represented a victory for the teen’s defense team.

On Nov. 15, Judge Bruce Schroeder ruled that Wisconsin’s open carry law is written so confusingly that it can be interpreted to mean that 17-year-olds can openly carry firearms as long as they are not short-barreled rifles.

According to the judge, the jury could only convict if prosecutors proved that the barrel of Rittenhouse’s rifle was less than 16 inches and had an overall length of fewer than 26 inches. However, the AR-15 style rifle Rittenhouse used is 35 inches long with a barrel length of 16 inches.

The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse will determine whether the defendant should be found guilty of killing two protesters and wounding another during a night of BLM-related protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year. It is one of the most visible court sagas over the fallout from the 2020 protests about police and race.

The judge’s decision surprised prosecutors, who argued that his interpretation of the law makes no sense.

“There’s no ambiguity,” Assistant District Attorney James Kraus told the judge Friday. “It is very clear that (17-year-olds) are not to possess dangerous weapons,” he added.

Rittenhouse’s defense team argued that there is a loophole in the law that says the misdemeanor only applies to 17-year-olds who carry short-barreled rifles.

Kyle Rittenhouse pleads not guilty

In August 2020, Rittenhouse, 17, volunteered to patrol downtown Kenosha amid the turmoil surrounding the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by a white police officer. Rittenhouse then shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz amid lawlessness in the streets.

The young man pleaded not guilty to all charges, claiming he fired his weapon in self-defense. A Kenosha County jury is expected to begin deliberating the case this Monday.

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